|Ask A Councillor - A 'Virtual' Community Surgery|
A new series dealing with neighbourhood issues
Send in any community queries* to email@example.com and a guest Councillor will answer them.
This week Northfield Conservative Councillor David Millican:
Dealing with noisy neighbours
Noise by our neighbours disturbs many of us as we live so close to each other in flats and terraced houses. Other residents have raised this with me and frankly I experience the problem in my own neighbourhood.
In my experience the best thing to do is approach the neighbour directly, politely but firmly, and ask them to be more considerate. In most case I have found that people don't realise that their noise travels and so change their ways, or turn the music down.
In fact noise between neighbours is a civil matter and usually not one for public authorites and, as its not criminal, then the police would not respond, unless someone was in danger.
If the noise emanates regularly from a neighbouring property, which is owned by Ealing Homes or a housing association, then they authority will usually deal with this directly and ask their tenants to be considerate. If they do not respond then the landlord can become firmer. Ultimately they can go to the civil courts to evict their tenant; however this would only be a last resort as no-one wants to see tenants evicted and homeless.
If the party occurs after 11pm on Friday or Saturday night, the Council runs an out-of-hours service on (020) 8825 5000. Ealing's environmental heath officers' will try to visit the party and get the level of noise reduced or stopped.
Of course so many circumstances are different. We can be disturbed by dogs barking, heavy footsteps on wooden floors, loud music, babies crying, children screaming. In the event the best course of action is talking directly to your neighbours. Sometimes this doesn't resolve matter and if you can't reach agreement with your neighbours then Ealing Neighbour Mediation Service - (020) 8575 9500 - may be able to help you sort this out with your neighbour.
Ealing Council's website carries some helpful advice
Can I reserve a car park space outside my house?
No, you can't reserve a space. We don't own the road outside our house and anyone who has paid their road tax, and whose car is insured, can park anywhere, so long as its legal.
I know that we'd all like our own private parking spot, but in London that's just not possible. The houses and roads where most of us live were built before people had cars. So when many households, or groups of friends sharing, have several cars, then its inevitable that there just won't be enough space for our cars.
But let's be sensible. If your neighbour is expecting a delivery by a builder's merchant, then we should allow them to reserve a space.
Perhaps your neighbour regularly "reserves" a space with boxes. I would suggest a polite but firm word with your neighbour that they just can't do that and that you will remove the boxes.
* only general neighbourhood issues can be tackled here - any specific individual cases please contact your local Councillor privately
26th January 2011